In particular, the fact that there are mayors elected to office through democratic means among the defendants is adding to concerns. People’s minds are also confused about what the KCK really is. How is it different from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)? How does it conduct its relations with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is a legally established and operating party? We know that the PKK is a terrorist organization that tries to achieve its goals through violent terror attacks. Yet, it is also a political party, as its name suggests. It was established and operates in line with principles set forth by the famed dictator of the Soviet Union, Stalin. The KCK, too, is a clandestine organization. Moreover, it has organic ties with the PKK and, because of this, it can be seen as an extension of a terrorist organization. Then, what is the meaning, for Kurds, of such an organization which is different from the PKK?
The answers to these questions by the KCK leader and members living in Europe are mostly of a theoretical nature, which imparts an ideological defense. Nevertheless, we need to answer the question, “What sort of organization is the KCK?” by looking at the ideology of the PKK.
A Soviet-type organization
The KCK is a Soviet organization. The relations that existed between the Communist Party and the Soviet organization during the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 now exist between the PKK and the KCK. The Soviets, established during the 1905 revolution, seized the administration to a great extent. The Bolsheviks saw the Soviets as the core of the revolutionary power. The Soviets, which were crushed in the summer of 1905, were revived in early 1917. They were followed by the establishment of councils of workers, villagers and soldiers. A dual power structure emerged in the country. When the temporary government was toppled in October, the state power was seized by the Soviets.
The KCK is an alternative to the state. This applies not only to its Turkey council, but also its councils three other countries. It comprises the PKK. Moreover, it undertakes all the responsibilities of a state proper and exercises the powers of state at the local level. It establishes courts to solve disputes. It provides schooling. It imposes punishments on those who fail to comply with its rules.
The power of such an organization relies on the support of the public. The state of the Turkish republic and the KCK will confront each other in the Southeast. If the public submits to the KCK’s authority, then the Kurdish political movement will have made great progress. Today, this is the case in Hakkari. The state’s power has been replaced with the KCK’s rules in Hakkari. The state’s forces just ignore the fact of the KCK’s domination lest they increase tension.
Paradigm change in the nation-state
On the other hand, the KCK is effectively bringing the PKK down from the mountains, altering it’s mode of operating from a military one to a political one. The borders of the state policy built upon counterterrorism end here. How can the state cope with the KCK? No one is ready to answer this question. This is evidenced by the ongoing KCK trial. The state must radically change its perspectives on the Kurdish issue.
What will the state do against a Kurdish separatism that employs political means after the terror is over. Now, Turkey faces the risk of being separated because of the very decisions taken and measures implemented in other that Turkey would not be divided and the very form and content of the war fought against separatism.
Are there some people who seek to establish a state of “Kurdistan” on part of the territories of the state of the Turkish republic? Yes, there are. It was to this end that the PKK launched a period of extensive violence in 1984. This violence continued in short intervals for 26 years. From a tactical point of view, the PKK saw that it was practically impossible to establish an independent state and abandoned this goal in 1999. Today, it voices a reduced version of this target in the form of cultural rights and demand for autonomy. But is the PKK capable to dividing Turkey?
An objective answer to this question is: the PKK cannot divide Turkey solely through its own strategic and tactical achievements. Turkey can only be divided by the opportunities offered on a golden tray to the PKK by those who make the wrong decisions and implement misguided policies with a view to preventing Turkey’s division. Indeed, the question “To what extent is the PKK itself a result of its own staff and to what extent is it the outcome of those who fight against the PKK?” is sufficient to clarify this case. Hasn’t PKK separatism been nurtured on the military mentality that insistently defined it as a concrete enemy?
Education in Kurdish language
The politicization of Kurdish separation is increasingly basing its politics on the Kurdish language. It demands the right to education in Kurdish. The prime minister objected to this demand. Can resisting Kurdish separatism’s most powerful argument ensure Turkey’s unity?
Let us also ask these questions in the reverse. Will the right to education in Kurdish divide Turkey? Or will Turkey be divided if it denies the right to education in Kurdish? Which will Kurds attempt to divide: a country where education in Kurdish is freely conducted or the one in which they are denied to this right? Is it more natural to reason, “As they don’t give me the right to education in my mother tongue, I will establish my own state in order to have this right,” or decide to “live like sheep after being assimilated since I am denied the right to education in my mother tongue?” How can you protect the integrity of this country if you cannot protect human dignity?
Human needs are the main drives of human societies. Apart from our feelings, ideas or ideals, there is also an indispensable benefit both to Turks and Kurds to have this country as a single piece. Today, the real enemy of Kurds is not the state, but the requirements of the marketplace. The abolition of visa requirements between Turkey and Syria has brought ongoing market integrity in the region. People doing business in the same market need a common language (lingua franca). This language will firstly be English and then Turkish. Thus, education in Kurdish language will only serve to make Kurds dignified and equal stakeholders of this country, thereby ensuring integrity; however, Kurdish education will only see acceptance to the extent that this language will be received in the larger marketplace of our region.
It is natural for the PKK to politicize the issue of Kurdish language. Turkey’s ability to maintain its integrity is dependent on its capability to eliminate all complaints about the Kurdish language, thereby preventing the language from being subject to political exploitation. What would happen if the court accepted speaking to the KCK defendants, who know Turkish very well, via Kurdish translators? Really, what would this change? If the court decided to see the trial accepting the use of the Kurdish language although the demand to use it was nothing but pure political show, what would happen? The trial would be prolonged and the service of justice would be delayed. That is all.
Cengiz Çandar is right: the PKK should turn into the KCK in order to stop the bloodshed. As the military created a monster out of the PKK, the court will turn the KCK in to a highly representative political organization.
The prerequisite for the settlement of the Kurdish issue is to stop the bloodshed. Most reasonably, this can be done by expanding the legal and political remedies and the sphere of representation. The largest circle that comprises all of these is the Kurdish language problem. The paradigm must change. The most robust assurance for Turkey’s unity and integrity is the free use of the Kurdish language including as a medium of instruction.
Turkey must change its paradigm.